The COREPOINT conference, organised by CoastNet and funded primarily through the Corepoint partnership, was hosted by the Marine Institute in Galway on the 8th November, brought together over 100 professionals who passionately debated the challenges and solutions for an integrated maritime policy for Europe as outlined in the recent European Green Paper.
The meeting called on the European Commission to learn from the experience already gained in integrated coastal zone management in any future policy development rather than “reinventing the wheel”.
Representatives of seven European countries and a wide variety of maritime sectors, including shipping, aquaculture, heritage and conservation, presented their own perspectives on the proposed policy to the commission representative. Solutions to current challenges, including a call for improved marine spatial planning, were proposed and debated by the participants.
Key issues emerging from the workshop centred on the complexity of the oceans, society’s relationship with the sea, the adequacy of our knowledge of marine ecosystems as the basis for management, and how we can sustainably exploit the seas for economic benefit.
The concentration of such a wide range of human activities around the European coast was of concern to many, and it was recognised that our experience in managing the coast had wider applicability to the whole maritime territory. Alex Mildlen, Chairman of CoastNet commented, ‘The conference successfully started the debate on this new policy, but a question ‘Can the ambitious vision of a truly integrated European marine policy ever be achieved?’ remains unanswered.”
Mr Fernandez Deiz Picazo, from the European Commission, told the audience that their comments and proposals should be received by 30th June 2007. All submissions can be viewed at http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs